ZIMBABWE’S ranking in the World Bank doing business survey fell further, plunging two places to 170 out of 189 countries.
The country has failed to redeem itself from its “bad boy” image after President Robert Mugabe began violent seizures of white owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks in 2000 and successive disputed elections.
Since 2007, Zimbabwe has hogged international headlines for its controversial Indigenisation Act which compels all companies to be at least 51% locally owned and a general lack of policy consistency as well as high levels of corruption that have crippled state institutions in particular.
In 2009, the country formed an inclusive government that failed to change the public perception in terms of doing business with the former government failing to conclude its US$750 million iron mining and steel production partnership with Indian firm Essar.
According to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2014 report released last week, Zimbabwe’s doing business distance to frontier (DTF) improved by 1,46% points to 42,12% compared to 40,66% last year.
The DTF measure shows the distance of each economy to the highest performance observed or each of the indicators across all economies measured in doing business since the inclusion of the indicator, known as the frontier.
“An economy’s distance to frontier is reflected on a scale of 0 to 100%, where 0 represents the lowest performance and 100 represents the frontier. For example, a score of 75% in doing business in 2013 means an economy was 25 percentage points away from the frontier constructed from the best performances across all economies and across time,” reads part of the report.
In terms of the key indicators and benchmarks,Zimbabwe’s situation in terms of paying taxes, registering property,enforcing contracts and getting credit worsened in the period under review with the country ranking 142, 93, 118 and 109 respectively.
The country slipped by two positions in terms of the ease of starting a business to position 150 from 148 last year and one place in terms of protecting investors to position 128.
In terms of registering a company, Zimbabwe has nine procedures compared to the average eight in sub-Saharan Africa and five in high income economies despite formation of a one-stop -shop the Zimbabwe Investment Authority, to speed up processing of business deals with foreign partners.
The World Bank said it takes an average 90 days to register a company in Zimbabwe compared to 29,7 in sub-Saharan Africa and 11, 1 in high income economies.
Improvements were recorded in dealing with construction permits where the country ranked 170 out of 189 compared to position 173 in the prior year as well as resolving insolvency where Zimbabwe stood at number 159 compared to 168 in the 2013 report.
The Doing Business report says Ukraine, Rwanda, the Russian Federation, the Philippines, Kosovo, Djibouti, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Guatemalans among the economies improving the most in 2012/13 in areas tracked by Doing Business.
Singapore topped the global ranking on the ease of doing business.
Joining it on the list of the top 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulatory environments are Hong Kong, SAR, China, New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Georgia;,Norway; and the United Kingdom.